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The New York Times Profiles Carleton Externship Program

11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
edited April 2010 in Carleton College
Another profile of the depth of Carleton alumni engagement with their alma mater appearing in the Sunday New York Times. Previous articles have highlighted the success of the Engagement Wanted program (Carleton College Promotes Job-Seeking Seniors on Listserv - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education). This article focused on Carleton's externship opportunities:

"Ms. Hochman, whose clients include Scott Turow, Michael Cunningham and Julia Glass, recently broke with tradition and divvied up her usual 40-pound pile into two additional heaps — one for Amanda Sweet, the other for Julia Gold, two seniors from Carleton College in Minnesota who dutifully followed Ms. Hochman’s every directive."

Modern-Day Apprentices - The New York Times > Education > Slide Show > Slide 1 of 9

Career Office - Externships - Living With the Boss - NYTimes.com

Carls don't forget from whence they came and they give back. As happily bred-in-the-bone connected as any alumni base, at any college, anywhere.
Post edited by 1190 on

Replies to: The New York Times Profiles Carleton Externship Program

  • searchlight22searchlight22 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    From the New York Times article:

    <<“A lot of great schools don’t prepare you for real life, there’s no professional development,” said Aleshia Mueller, who graduated from Carleton in 2001 and now runs Reel Nomad Productions, a media production company in Minneapolis.>>

    I know that was meant to be a compliment about Carleton and other liberal arts schools, but it made me realize that these schools may need to do more about getting their graduates ready for the outside world.

    I visited about 25 colleges with my son and daughter. Only Hamilton seemed to get this part correct. The admissions rep said that, immediately upon arriving on campus, Hamilton students are hooked up with the career placement office which works closely with them throughout their four years. The rep said that, as of December when we visited, 95 percent of the Class of 2009 was employed or going to graduate school. This sounded like a pretty high percentage considering the dismal economy. (I have no idea what the percentage is for recent Carleton grads.)

    If Carleton is doing the same thing as Hamilton, then I apologize for getting my facts wrong.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    "schools may need to do more about getting their graduates ready for the outside world."

    Agree wholeheartedly - part of the reason the externship program and Carleton's linkage to alumni and parents has been pursued so vigorously since the financial downturn (VERY vigorously). Many employers won't look at rising sophomores, often not even rising juniors, when it comes to summer opportunities. This also often applies to paid Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs). Ultimately, like it or not, connections often rule the day. And the quote by Mueller isn't directed at Carleton or LACs in general, for that matter, but to top tier schools graduating a large percentage of kids, particularly in the non-STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) liberal arts fields, often with no specific skill set to sell in a tough job market. Hamilton, which has a relatively small number of "STEM" grads, may still be seeing 95% of its graduates working or in grad programs 1/2 year out from graduation but you're right to be skeptical. These numbers tell only part of the story. Like numbers posted by other schools, these include a large percentage of grads in unpaid internships, part-time jobs, or just plain underemployed. All are still technically "employed."

    I know you're new to the school but don't be fooled by Carls for one minute. As a group, they may appear to be individualistic out-of-the-box thinkers (they are) but they are not blind to the realities of the world. The vast majority leave Northfield after 4 years much better prepared than that quote that concerned you might suggest. I've read many of these, but below is a random sample of this year's senior class - a bullet of each of the 5 graduating seniors profiled in the Engagement Wanted listing this week and the general "real world" experience they've obtained prior to graduation in their respective fields of interest. They have not been doing macrame in their free time:

    1. Geology major interested in systems sciences: field experience in the Siberian arctic, coastal Australia, and Tanzania.

    2. English major interested in public health: research internships at both Duke and U Minn

    3. Economics major interested in energy consulting/policy: worked on strategic plan for a local energy efficiency initiative, managed data set of 14,000 houses to determine impact of environmental regulations on housing prices

    4. Biology/biochem major interested in scientific research: research experience at the Plant Gene Expression Center

    5. Neuroscience major interested in cognitive neuroscience: research experience in physiology/biophysics and pharmacology at the NIH, Georgetown and U Minn.
  • searchlight22searchlight22 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    I appreciate your long and thoughtful answer, and the strong efforts Carleton is making. But looking at the small sample you mentioned, I hope that not all of these real world jobs will depend upon the generosity of government, NGOs, foundations and universities.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    My hope as well. Unfortunately, until consumer confidence rises enough for private industry to feel comfortable about expansion and new hiring, these will remain the biggest players out there.

    If you talk with parents of 2009 and 2010 college graduates, the longest lines at career fairs and the greatest rise in application numbers surround government and not-for-profit supported opportunities from Treasury, DOD, Homeland Security, Teach for America, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps.... In the sciences over the past 6 months, academic research labs have landed newly minted Federal Recovery Act stimulus money. It's allowed for expanded staffing with a lot of these new jobs now available to fresh college grads (most with STEM backgrounds).

    Obviously, private sector hiring for college grads is not dead, but remains at a fraction of what once existed. And hiring often (again, as many parents of recent grads can tell you quite unhappily) takes the form more and more of the unpaid internship - de rigueur decades ago, never out of style in entertainment and media, now resurrected for all career paths. From two weeks ago, also in the NYT.
    The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not - NYTimes.com
  • searchlight22searchlight22 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    <<Unfortunately, until consumer confidence rises enough for private industry to feel comfortable about expansion and new hiring, these will remain the biggest players out there.>>

    Inner Workings Blog Archive Small Business Drowns

    Inner Workings Blog Archive No Venture Capital, No IPO’s, No Startups — You call this a recovery?

    It appears that college grads will be looking for work in the public sector for a long time to come. However, I remember that when a certain career path became exponentially popular among MBAs coming out of business school, that often signaled a peak before a downturn. The same may happen with public sector jobs. What are now unpopular jobs, working in private businesses that create even more jobs, will once again be valued by society. Somebody has to pay for all of the public sector employment.
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